COMMENT: Griggs of Soham by Geoff Griggs
PUBLISHED: 19:00 29 February 2016
If the week-long forecasts at the weekend and the weather sayings are to be believed then March is coming in like a lion but should go out like a lamb.
The month of daffodils always gives us a glimpse of spring with a reminder of the ferocity of winter. Not to worry, we’ll soon be revelling in April showers!
Now that my main means of transport is a mobility scooter I am paying far more attention to weather forecasts these days. It’s a bit like being back on a motorcycle, if considerably slower, in that you are always very keen to know if it is likely to rain. It can be just as cold, though!
Jake the spaniel will never stop being surprised by the antics of some of the humans around here. Being a dog Jake has never been irritated by the regular niggles endemic in running a car.
Whenever Jake wants to park he stops and either sits or lays down. As he understands it to park a car you have to find a designated space and aim well away from the white lines bordering the space, otherwise a passing policeman’s assistant will award you a £60 fine for your own good, no doubt.
Worse still, if the car is parked on a space in the car park that happens to be grassed it could cost you £50.
Jake understands the frustration of the average driver if he or she wants to spend money in Soham, but thought that the actions of one chap recently was a bit extreme. For some reason he thought it reasonable to leave his car in the road parked on its roof. Jake wonders if he fully thought it through.
So the proposed draft local plan declares that we need 12,800 new homes in the area in the next ten years while 7,100 jobs will also be needed.
Wrong! If 12,800 homes are to be built then the bare minimum number of jobs that will have to be found is 12,800. The headlong charge for house building has already almost ruined Soham while the roads are already clogged with commuters each morning.
If you talk to some of the older townspeople they will tell you about the days when people walked or cycled to work but now the engineering works, the mill and the transport yard are all housing estates.
If you would like to see a bit more investment in the future of our town have a word with the district council or your councillor.
A WALK IN THE PAST
Talking of walking to work there is a lecture at the Methodist Hall on Berrycroft that will recall those days.
Entitled “Farming with Steam” it will, no doubt, illustrate the method of ploughing a field using mighty engines connected to winches that pulled a plough complete with a pilot back and forth across the field. Traction engines were also used when the threshing tackle visited at harvest time.
A canvas belt stretched from a pulley on the engine to the drum which in turn drove the elevator. I can never actually remember a steam engine at my uncle’s farm, he always used his trusty Fordson Major but my grandfather always referred to threshing as “steaming.”
Threshing was always a dry and dusty job which encouraged (if encouragement was needed) many of the workers to call in at a handy hostelry (and with at least 38 pubs in town at one time there was usually one handy) to cut through the chaff with some golden ale.
In solidarity with the farmworkers the people of Soham have been imitating their forebears by sinking a pint or two at the Rotary Club’s beer and music festival on the recreation ground over the first weekend on July. With the proposed refurbishment of the pavilion in the offing it is uncertain if the festival can take place as usual as the hall may be out of action.
However, the good people of the Rotary Club have been working away and the event will definitely take place. It will still be on the rec and will either operate out of the pavilion or the scout hut and if the usual July date is impractical then it will happen in August. Enjoy yourself for charity.
GONE BUT NOT...
The talented students at the village college have, apparently, painted a mural in their dining area. What an excellent idea!
In my school days anything that took your mind off the school dinner in front of you was to be welcomed. Not that this applies to the wonderful offerings of Sarah and her staff at the village college of course!
When the Lodeside building was opened in 1959 there was a mural at the kitchen end of the foyer which showed aspects of Soham including a tractor and Peter Lyon’s shop.
Unfortunately this was plastered over a year or two ago and another link between the town and the school was lost.
COFFEE AND CHAT
If you are at a loose end on Saturday morning then you could do a lot worse than stroll along to the Salvation Army hall on Bushel Lane where there is a coffee morning from 10 to noon. A cup of coffee, or tea no doubt, if you prefer, and a good old natter has got to be an improvement on yet another TV cookery programme.